As I mentioned in my latest article on Medium – nobody expected that on such a large scale, so quickly one virus will spread all over the World. The Pandemic Covid-19 forced us to change our everyday routines, habits, and rituals. It didn’t leave room for special planning in terms of a new reality for companies. Many of them were made to transfer form on-site mode of work into a full remote overnight.
At Applover, we decided to go fully remote almost two weeks ago. Following the example of many other enterprises such as Facebook, Amazon, Microsoft, or Apple. We made that decision due to the increasing risks of spreading the virus.
How did we do it? How is it going so far, and what are we doing in terms of bonding the team?
Perfectly prepared for remote work
What is essential and worth stressing here is that we were used to remote work already. Some of our developers work from homes or different places – like our clients’ offices on some outsourcing contracts all over the world. So for them, nothing has changed.
I live in Poznań, which makes a 2-hour trip away from Wrocław. That is why I’m visiting the office once a month. It’s also a perfect solution for introverted developers who need some “alone time” to reach maximum productivity.
Aside from stories like that, still, most of our developers work from the office on an everyday basis. The current situation resembles nothing they’re used to. Our fast transition from on-site mode to a remote one went so smoothly due to perfectly planned processes. Most of them happen online so that they can be easily applied everywhere, not only in the office. What is also incredibly important here is our transparency in communication and tools. It helps us to keep in touch when it comes to projects or socializing.
Keeping in touch
Working in a remote mode won’t be a problem as long as the management team takes care of communication transparency and neat scheduling tasks or meetings. At Applover we’re used to working with tools such as Jira, Trello, Google Suite, Slack, and Discord. The last one is the newest on our list and serves as a socializing platform for our team. (More about how we keep in touch with each other and make a friendly spirit thrive later!) As I said before – a fast transition to a fully remote work system wasn’t that hard for us. We had a long experience in using many different tools and working with IT developers and clients from all over the world. It’s never been a problem for us.
But how do we take advantage of it right now?
All of our teams are used to everyday communication via Slack. The survey taken by Mio, an Austin, Texas-based startup that sells software to enable communication between different messaging tools, revealed that 65% of IT companies in the US use Slack regularly. And we completely understand why! Slack helps us keep our everyday communication fluent and efficient enough. It happens in real-time, so it’s perfect when it comes to quick and daily contact with particular workers, whole teams, and clients.
We can’t imagine our remote work without management tools such as Jira, Trello, or Google Suite. We use them every day not only when staying at home! Let’s start with Jira. It is a must-have for every employee in our company. It’s a tool that allows bug tracking and agile project management. It’s essential for our project management and marketing teams.
For me, not too much has changed. We still operate on systems and tools which help us to keep transparent communication with our clients and delivering valuable products for them.
I just changed the frequency of asking developers for feedback and short reports on what’s the progress via Slack or phone.
Besides this one, our marketers are more into Trello. They use it in their internal communication. For those of you who haven’t heard of that tool, it’s a web-based Kanban-style list-making application. Almost 13,000 companies all over the world use it because it can be easily applied to software, marketing, financial, or education management.
So one can ask – what is changing for you guys at Applover with that transition? You were prepared with all the tools and processes which are correctly working for you now.
Well, the tremendous difference is the fact that we can’t meet whenever we want and discuss projects, issues, or ideas face to face. That’s why we introduced our teams to short daily meetings via Google Hangouts. It helps us to keep everything clear and transparent not only for us but also for our clients. Before our transition to full remote mode, daily meetings were common for development teams. Other departments such as sales, marketing or UX specialists were meeting once a week in order to plan work for the upcoming days.
Things have changed last Monday. Right now every morning is designated for all of our employees to make a short update. We all share what we did the day before and what are the challenges for the upcoming one. So far, it works perfectly fine, and during the chitchatting, Applover’s crew says that they’re more productive and focused on their work than ever!
Sales & marketing team daily call
Speaking of remote workers’ efficiency, I need to mention the research conducted five years ago. It showed a 13% increase in productivity when working from home. The reasons stated in the study were a reduced number of breaks and sick leave. By giving employees more freedom and limiting practices such as micromanagement, we allow people to grow their potential and routines, which may work best for them. According to the State of Remote Work 2019 report prepared by Owl Labs – for remote workers, the likelihood of staying at the same company for the next five years was 13% higher. That’s something worth investing, especially in the IT business, where the recruitment process is neither easy nor cheap.
Besides the fact that being an HR manager in the IT business isn’t smooth sailing, the current situation made it even harder. It takes a little bit more of an effort to keep candidates perfectly informed. Our recruiters send a brief message about where the meeting will take place (in this case, it’s quickly done by the invite to Google Calendar where the link to Google Hangouts is) and how it will look like. We also ask the candidate to prepare the camera and microphone so we can freely start the interview. Seeing applicants is crucial here. It allows us to sense their body language and attitude they show towards our company.
Recruitment processes are going as planned. We still have interviews via Google Hangouts. Our candidates are happy that they can stay safe at home without missing out.
As Ania said, we’re conducting recruitment interviews online and still planning to hire more developers. We posted our latest job offer last Thursday, so everything’s going as planned before. What is more, we also have some remote onboardings scheduled in the upcoming month.
Do you want to find out more about remote work at Applover?Talk to our team!
We can proudly admit that the fact we changed our work mode to full remote doesn’t mean that people of Applover don’t talk to each other after work. The introduction of Discord to our company by one of the developers (a tool popular among gamers) made it possible to socialize even during company-wide remote work. Thanks to that platform, many of our developers can quickly join the conversation happening in online chatrooms, imitating several rooms in our Wroclaw’s headquarters. This is how Discord looks like:
Thanks to our HR and Marketing teams, who dedicate their time to think up new challenges and contests, building the team identity and team spirit during this difficult time is much more feasible. Last week we introduced a contest to encourage the team to share their home offices. In the meantime, our developers were sharing thoughts on what they missed the most about the office. Many were cracking jokes, such as missing the coffee machine which someone continuously breaks by pouring water where the coffee beans should be. Deep inside, we know that they miss the person who is always – jokingly, of course – accused of breaking it down!
Some of our employees take extra advantage of working at home and playing with their beloved pets. For those who are not that lucky and don’t own cats or dogs, our happiness developer called Taco does her best to keep us company by sending cute photos. You can see how busy she is right now…
We also have a Slack channel where we promote sports initiatives at Applover. Having limited possibilities of meeting in person won’t stop us from hanging out together! Right now, there’s a strong team of video game enthusiasts who decided to play games with their coworkers while safely staying at home.
Encouraging to stay active
Considering the recent developments, although we #stayhome we also encourage our employees to remain active and workout at home. We organized a little internal contest for our team, so they could show us how they take care of themselves and we were really happy with the outcome – just look at the photo below!
We take pride that they take it seriously and maintain good health and shape! A sound mind in a sound body!
Safety comes first!
Everyone who says that team bonding, recruitment processes, and keeping a transparent communication can’t happen remotely should check out how we do it. Of course, the situation isn’t as comfortable as in the office. But still, there are many ways of keeping and developing a strong team spirit.
Right now, we should all remember that staying safely at home and taking care of our families is what now matters the most. #BetterSafeThanSorry